Book selling is a mystery to me as an ebook author. I personally don't enjoy the self-promotion. However, I try to do what I’m supposed to do.
I've paid several companies for promotion, done guest blogging, and have blogged here on my own site—though I'll admit I've been lax this last month—I’ve got postcards and business cards and am really lame at giving them out, I’m on Facebook and Twitter. Despite all of that, these last six months have not seen many sales of my book. (Just got my last 3 month’s royalties.) It was rather disheartening.
Today I went on Amazon and this month I have 3 brand new customer reviews. (Previously there hadn't been any new ones since January.) Here are a few snippets from the new reviews:
“Alone is a cozy faith-based romance with a dash of mystery.” My thought: nice!
“Very well written book. Knew how to set her scenes very well, dialogue tags were awesome.” My thought: thanks!
“Alone is a pleasant read. SM Ford's style of writing is reminiscent of Jane Austen.” My thought: Oh, my gosh, I’d never even read Jane Austen when I wrote this book! I was trying for Mary Stewart.
Those opening lines of those reviews might draw more readers in.
And then those are the parts of those same reviews where as the author I want to protest or laugh. And those same parts may turn readers away.
“I did think that Cecilia seemed way too practical and much older than a young twenty-something year old.” My thought: Huh, I started writing the story when I was twenty-seven—her character was very set at that time. And I gave Cecelia reasons for her practicality—her mother died when she was a teen and she had a lot of added responsibilities.
“My biggest problem with this book was everyone was just too nice. They were overly perfect when it came to behavior.” My thoughts: First off, the book is published by a company called Clean Reads, so what did you expect? But I gave my characters flaws too. Shall I list them?
It’s a good thing we don’t talk to our reviewers. Though, honestly, I would keep my mouth shut!
Actually, I’m grateful for the time these people took to write the reviews, for both the positive and the negative. They have given me encouragement and food for thought. Were my characters too nice? Can’t fix that story, but can watch out for it in future writing. Was my main character too old-fashioned? Again, something to be aware of in future stories.
So, yes, I was down about sales, but now I’m up because of some reviews.
My writing life has been on hold.
It started in early June.
First, Mom was in and out and in the hospital with a stay in between at a nursing home. I hated the idea of her spending her days mostly alone, so I'd go sit with her for hours. Sometimes we talked. Sometimes I read a book. Sometimes I caught up on social media and email. I watched her sleep. I translated when hospital staff didn't speak loud enough or slow enough. I prayed. And, yes, I worried. After all, she's 93!
My sister visited from eastern Washington and we visited Mom together. Finally, a doctor told us what we'd been expecting--they couldn't fix Mom's heart problem. A palliative doctor came and explained to Mom (and the family) what was happening--this doctor was amazingly kind and clear! And it meant Mom would get to go home to my brother's house as she wished. Hospice was set up. Phone calls were made. We were told Mom would probably only have a couple weeks.
Mom went home. My sister left. My step-sister arrived from New York and stayed at my brother's. My sister and her husband came back. Friends kept dropping by to see Mom. More out-of time family came and left, and the couple weeks mark passed. My daughter from Boston came. I've had grandsons to visit. Like the Energizer Bunny that we nicknamed Mom years ago, she's still going. She's alert. Still reading and crocheting, still watching the Mariners. It's been 3 plus weeks since she came home. Evidently, it isn't yet time for her to go to her eternal home.
With a scattered mind, visitors, visits to Mom, I find it very difficult to write. So instead, I've read e-newsletters that have piled up. I've continued with social media and tried to make some helpful comments about writing. I've caught up on emails. I've done guest blog posts and blog posts. I've done some publicity for my newly released ebook. And I have read, and read, and read. Some is just pure escapism reading. Some is reading in the multiple genres that I write in. I've also looked at books I should read or want to read.
I want to get back on a schedule of writing, but Mom is acting more tired. My time with her is running out. I also need to relieve my brother and sister-in-law from some of the care. So my writing is still on hold.
And that's okay. Because the best words right now are her saying,"I love you."
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.